A few weeks ago the CEOs of the four large tech companies – Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google – sat in front of Congress to testify. They’d been summoned to a hearing to address the issue of online platforms and market power. It was a big event. For over three hours the four men faced … Continue reading The Quest for Monopoly
I'm toying with entering the newsletter market. I've been looking at banks and financials for 25 years. First from the perspective of a sell-side equity research analyst. Then as an investor in a specialist global hedge fund. More recently out of sheer interest. So the idea of crafting a newsletter as an outlet for my … Continue reading Introducing Net Interest
Historical analogies are a way for us to find our footing. ‘History doesn't repeat itself, but it often rhymes,’ they say. So it’s no surprise that the coronavirus crisis draws comparison with a range of historic events. Of all the available analogies, the financial crisis of 2008 seems to offer the best framework. But not for its steer on the economic fallout, rather for the spotlight it shines on our understanding of the virus itself...
Now, when we go on holiday, I come home surprised when we haven’t bumped into someone we know. Partly that’s because it’s happened a lot – on the streets and in the hotels of Hong Kong, Tokyo, Costa Rica, San Francisco, Cape Town, Lisbon. The weirdest was at a bus stop on a highway in … Continue reading The maths of bumping into Steve McManaman (and Damian Lewis)
Tim Harford is one of my favourite writers and broadcasters. I referenced his book, Messy, on an earlier blog. He recently recorded a new podcast called Cautionary Tales and episode 3, LaLa Land: Galileo’s Warning, is especially interesting. In it, Harford tells the story of the 2017 Oscar awards ceremony, the one where Warren Beatty … Continue reading Ever Increasing Complexity
Malcolm Gladwell was recently in London marketing his latest book, Talking to Strangers. The book is about the nature of truth. It weaves together stories, some well-known, some less so, of people who are misunderstood, often with damaging consequences. Most of the stories are about people who were trusted when they shouldn’t have been. People … Continue reading Getting to the Truth
In September this year three American businessmen published their memoirs. One a financier, one a corporate executive and one an entrepreneur, they added their contribution to the canon that is the business memoir.
Almost twenty years ago, in March 2000, I was sitting in a newly-opened branch of Starbucks near my home in London, reading a copy of the Financial Times. I was on gardening leave between jobs, serving out my notice from one employer before I could officially join the next – one of the largest investment … Continue reading Inflection Point
Ten years ago, as May turned into June 2009, Air France Flight 447, bound for Paris from Rio de Janeiro, crashed into the Atlantic. All 228 passengers and crew on board were killed. In the immediate aftermath it was difficult to understand how it happened. The plane was an Airbus A330, one of the most … Continue reading Air France Flight 447: Ten Years On
Unless you’re doing business with him, there are three ways to meet Warren Buffett. You can buy a Berkshire Hathaway share and attend his annual shareholder meeting, along with 40,000 other people. You can bid on the lunch he auctions off once a year for charity. Last year’s went for US$3.3 million. Or you can … Continue reading Meeting Warren Buffett